Rangers Defeat Penguins 2-1, En Route To Eastern Conference Final

Charles Leclaire/USA Today Sports

Charles Leclaire/USA Today Sports

For the second time in three years, the New York Rangers will be playing in the Eastern Conference Final.

After going down 3-1 in the series to the Pittsburgh Penguins, many “fans” and analysts wrote the Rangers off and predicted a Pens win in five games. But the Rangers rose above adversity, and proved them wrong.

Poor performances in games two through four got them into the hole, but then an unfortunate yet inspiring thing happened. Martin St. Louis’ mother passed away shortly before Mothers’ Day, and many thought he would take a break to mourn the loss with his father and sister. However, he visited Montreal for a day, and came back to play in game five. New York won in a 5-1 blowout. Then on Sunday, St. Louis got the scoring going and that’s all they would need. The Rangers won 3-1, forcing tonight’s game seven.

Tonight, the nerves were high, as both teams were poised to come out and battle hard to try and clinch the series. Brian Boyle kicked things off in the first period to give his team a 1-0 lead, but Jussi Jokinen answered in the second to knot things up. The Rangers responded well however, stringing together good shifts in the Penguins defensive zone and were rewarded a power-play for their efforts. Brad Richards, who seems to come up clutch in big games, coming into tonight he was 6-0 in game seven’s, he is now 7-0. Richards fired one home past a sprawling Marc-Andre Fleury to regain the lead.

The Pens came hard in the third and they had some great looks at the net which could have easily gone in with some puck luck. But Henrik Lundqvist had something to do with keeping the puck out of the net, as he made some tremendous saves and really kept his composure to win this game. He is in the zone right now, and that is bad news for the upcoming Rangers’ opponent.

Questions have now arisen about the play of Penguins’ stars Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, who were both shut down in the series and did not play a major factor. Dan Bylsma’sĀ future will now be pondered, as the entire city of Pittsburgh searches for answers to what just occurred.

The Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens play their game seven tomorrow up in Boston, winner will face the Rangers. The outcome does not matter, as New York will be on the road either way, as both the Bruins and Canadiens finished with more points in the regular season.

Cherish the win, embrace it, and savor it. Nobody thought the Rangers would be able to pull off this sort of comeback against a high-caliber team like the Penguins, but they rose above the rest and are now feeling good heading into the next round.

The Rangers comeback from 3-1 was unprecedented, and the first time it was ever done in franchise history.

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